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Want the Tech Package just for Navigation, don't get it.

Many people want the Technology Package on the base model Model S, but if you don't want/need the Xenon headlamps, Electrochromatic side mirrors, LED foglights, Convenience lighting, Power rear liftgate, High definition back-up camera, Homelink, and Automatic keyless entry, you can save $3,750 on your Model S. Why? Because you can always go on the internet, go on Google Maps, and get Turn-by-Turn driving directions. Keep in mind that the internet system is STANDARD. But if you REALLY want those extra features, then suit yourself.

Checking the specs page, all MS have keyless entry. That simply means you unlock the doors with the wireless remote. No physical key is required. The door handles popping out as you approach the car with the remote (FOB) on your person is a feature of the Tech package.

All MS come with a security system (alarm) that you can choose to enable or not. It blows the horn.

My 60 Kwh Tesla was delivered on Sunday. It was delivered with the 3G connection on and I discovered that there are really two versions of navigation system. When you set a destination - you get two navigation displays - one overhead view on the 17 inch display with the Google map that looks gorgeous at half or full screen. A second Garmin like tilted perspective navigation screen appears on the instrument cluster display behind the steering wheel occupying about a third of that display on the left or right (it is switchable with media and energy graph displays via steering the steering wheel controls). The speedometer remains in the middle.
I haven't signed up for any data plans so I wasn't to surprised when my 3G connection went away today. I didn't notice anything with navigation right away because the maps on my route to work remain cached. When I drove over to a friends to show off the car I noticed I essentially drove off the google map except for the blue line of my route, but the instrument cluster display still showed roads and voice directions continued. FYI there is a nice effect where the media audio fades to the passenger side and voice directions are pumped to the drivers side speakers. I believe this is where tech package navigation differs from straight up Google Navigation. The tech package navigation system is internet independent and tightly integrated with other car systems.
I originally got on the forums to see about peoples experience with data plans, but I hope this information is useful for folks on the fence about the Tech package. It's a pricey option, but some of the more subtle Wow factor of the car is hidden in it.

@David10 | JANUARY 23, 2013: I haven't signed up for any data plans so I wasn't to surprised when my 3G connection went away today.

My data connection has not gone away and I don't have a data plan yet. I think there will be an announcement from Tesla regarding data plans and a window before the data connection goes away. You may need to reboot your main 17" screen (hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel down, until the screen reboots).

The navigation android app works great. Maybe you can hear the directions via the car audio? Anyone try that?

Chuck - It's been reported in other threads that the directions from a smartphone can be played through the car audio.

@David10 - you shouldn't have lost your internet connection. Try rebooting your display (press and hold scroll wheels on steering wheel for 10-15 seconds) and you will probably get it back.

There is lots of discussion in these threads about navigating with the tech package and what you can do without the tech package. Your description is not quite correct.

You guys are right 3G was back when I got in the car this morning. Though I did try the reboot last night. Also looks like I'm getting a software update pushed to me in early morning.

You will always get software updates. They're universally free for all MS owners.

Getting back to the navigation issue...

Got my car two days ago - replacing a 2007 LS 460.

The navigation system is underwhelming - much more limited than my LS 460's 6 year old system.

Advantages of the Model S: Garmin display on dashboard, voice command entering of destinations, using phone contacts for destinations, entering destinations while the car is moving, satellite imaging for map, full screen map display.

Disadvantages of the Model S: Real-time traffic data not used for navigation, while navigation is running, the route line overwrites the traffic data so you can't see what is ahead, no waypoints, no way to use the map to adjust your destination (by dragging the destination like in Google maps), poor routing instructions (Lexus provided 3 route choices, plus you could add waypoints to force a specific route), map is always north at the top, no "split screen" to show both zoomed out and zoomed in displays simultaneously, ...

This really feels like a "version 0.1" product.

HOWEVER, all of these problems can be addressed by software updates. The capabilities of the Model S are considerably greater than my old LS - and likely any other car on the market. Getting a full feature set of the Nav software is not as important as getting other functionality working well and getting the software stable. But I do hope Tesla has plans to upgrade the Nav software to fully leverage the capabilities of the car and be competitive with what's out on the market (and has been for many years).

Here in The Netherlands we have Tom Tom Navigation Systems, which are very good actually. And they do not cost very much any more (but they used to be expensive). So, that would be a possible solution. Like any other Navigation System (Garmin etc.).

Like Topic Starter has mentioned already that going on Internet and using Google Maps, is a solution. Every person should make his/her choise.

Anyway, The Model S was chosen as Car of the Year. This car should have the best possible Navigation on board. This is something that Tesla Motors should have thought about when they were designing the Model S. Still it is not too late to do something about it. Tesla Motors should come up with an update that would give the car the best possible Navigation System.

Naw, TM figured that if you get lost, it's fun getting back on track in the MS, and gives an excuse to drive further. It's a feature, not a bug! ;p

Has any one found the avoid toll roads option in MS nav?

In-car storage of map data with the tech package? I got the MS with the tech package because I live in an area with awful 3G coverage (in the mountains between Silicon valley and the Pacific). My understanding was that the tech-package provides for complete US maps stored LOCALLY (i.e. somewhere in the car), but it doesn't seem to work. The map screen shows mostly black until I reach an area with 3G coverage. My software version is 4.2
Does anyone else have this missing local maps problem?

Otherwise, fantastic car. Bye bye, BMW!


The in-car storage of map data displays on the left side of the instrument panel, not on the touch screen. Are you saying the instrument panel map shows black when you have no service? That shouldn't happen.

winfried -

You have to be "navigating" to a destination for the map to show up on the left side instrument screen. It will remain accurate and update in 3G dead spots.

@DouglasR and @hfcolvin

Thanks for the answer - yes, you are correct, the map data display on the left of the instrument panel works fine in 3G dead spots. I am very relieved that there is no problem with the car.


I use the map on the big screen more often than the one on the dash. In poor 3G areas I find that the big screen map cannot keep up with the car. Lots of the screen is black (or gray). So what will happen when I don't sign up for a data plan? No big screen map at all. I too feel the mapping really leaves a lot to be desired.

Has any one tried using a Garmin or TomTom navigation unit in the car? I am wondering if all that coating on windshield and pano roof which is causing problems with tollway responders and garage door openers, will also block GPS signal.

@azizkhan - The GPS signals are getting through to the TBT nav on my smartphone, so I would think a Garmin or Tom Tom unit would be okay too.

@stevenmaifert - Thanks for checking.

The GPS signals (between 1.2 and 1.6 GHz) make it just fine through the windshield. I tested it with a (rather high end - $4000) Garmin 496 portable GPS.
Thanks to the replies by DouglasR and hfcolvin to my question a few days ago in this thread, I know now that data from the internal navigation database -- which is part of the Tech Package -- is ONLY displayed on the instrument panel itself, not on the big central screen. But I'm still having a 'bootstrap' problem if starting out in an area of no 3G coverage: as far as I can tell, the only way to get nav data displayed on the instrument panel is to enter a destination and receive a route from Google. But receiving this route requires 3G connection - so there is a real catch 22.
That's why I know that a Garmin portable works :-(

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